KTRH GardenLine Newsletter
SPREADER SETTINGS SUBTLETIES
April 5, 2007 - Issue #13
Here's Randy's Weekly KTRH GardenLine Tip:
Last year, at about this same time, I did a tip sheet called FAQ's of turf issues, and one of the topics I covered was about spreader settings. Yet, based on the number of phone calls and e-mails on this exact same topic in the past two weeks, it has given me the idea to turn the topic into a permanent tip at the webpage, but like so many other of our permanent tip sheets on the GardeLine webpage, most started as a weekly email tip. So, without further ado, here are the basic rules of Fertilizer Spreader Settings -- The GardenLine Way!
First, I don't really have a preference on what spreader you choose. Just make sure it is a broadcast spreader versus a drop spreader. For many of you Yankee-transplants, that who are used to growing Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescues, you may still have a drop spreader. You might as well get rid of it, because here in Houston, you'll need a broadcast spreader. Instead of explaining all the "whys" as to why you should get rid of it, let me make it pretty simple: Since St. Augustine is the predominant grass, you'll only serve to streak it green by using a "drop" spreader. Plus, by using a broadcast vs. a drop spreader, I can save you gobs of time, by cutting your passes by more than half.
Meanwhile, have you ever read the back of a bag of fertilizer, especially the ones we recommend per my own fertilization schedule? First, you'll discover that most of those spreaders don't even exist anymore. Secondly, the spreader manufacturers keep advancing their products each year or two, but the fertilizer manufacturers never update their information, much less do new research to verify such dosage changes. So, with the help of various fertilizer experts of the years, I came up with a couple of practical rules that seem to work very well. There are a couple of exceptions I will get to in a moment, but here are the basic rules.
For Fertilizers put the setting a notch or two above "half-way"
Ex: If there are 20 settings on the spreader 11-12 would be the setting
For Pre-Emergent Herbicides put the setting on or one notch above "one-quarter"
Ex: If there are 20 settings on the spreader 5-6 would be the setting.
Don't over-think the math on this based on the varying number of settings on the myriad of broadcast spreaders on the market. I've seen spreaders with numbers as few as 10 and as much as 30, and the rules above apply to all. Plus, you can be off by a notch or two without fear of over-fertilizing. It's also important to make some judgment calls on raising or lowering the settings. And only you can make those assessments.
Some Exceptions to the Rules:
On hand-held spreaders, if there are 5 or less settings go ahead and do fertilizers at the full opening. However, please lower the setting for pre-emergent herbicides at least down to 3, and some cases 2.
If a hand-held spreader has 10 or more settings, you can apply the general rules above.
With the advancements of "spread-able composts", it is fair game to mete them out at full openings via a broadcast spreader.
As always, if you have any questions call us on the GardenLine weekend mornings on KTRH at 713-212- KTRH (5874) for clarification.
On Pre-Emergent Herbicides - If you think the dosage is not enough, because you don't think it's blanket covering the zone that needs to be covered, then up it a notch or two.
Conversely, for Fertilizers, you don't have to cover every square inch of turf to get good results. So, if you think it's too much get to a notch below half-way.
This week's GardenLine Appearance will be at the new Central Ace Hardware in Clear Lake. The actual location is 2422 Bay Area Blvd. at Space Center Blvd. (It used to be an old Sears Hardware Store). But this is much more than an appearance, because we are actually broadcasting GardenLine live from this Ace Hardware. And since we broadcast so early in the mornings on Saturdays, you can rest assured that there are some very special deals taking place. For example, if you come buy a bag of Nitro Phos Super Turf (which you should, simply because it's that time of the year on the Fertilization Schedule) then, they are going to give you a free copy of my book during the first two hours of the live broadcast. Every hour there's a new special, so come hang out with us at the new Central Ace Hardware in Clear Lake this Saturday from 6 a.m. until Noon. Just a reminder, the free book if you buy a bag of fertilizer is only good from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
Make Sure You're in the Running for The Ultimate Gardening Giveaway!
KTRH and Randy Lemmon are giving loyal newsletter subscribers the opportunity to win a wheel barrow full of products from the GardenLine Partners that Randy endorses on the show. One winner will be selected each week between now and April 4!
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR WINNERS!
GardenLine Listeners and E-mail Tip Subscribers can purchase a copy of my new book at discounted price! Check it out! "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon"
Garden retailers interested in stocking the book, should call the Nitro Phos Warehouse at 713-228-1868 for wholesale ordering information.
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